Top Five AdWords Mistakes to Avoid

Every brand’s dream is to be the first answer when a customer asks a question about the problem they solve.

Every brand’s dream is to be the first answer when a customer asks a question about the problem they solve. Paid search engine marketing through Adwords, Yahoo or Bing search ads allow you take a shortcut right to the top of your audiences search results.

Search engine marketing is an incredible tool that can help target the most qualified potential customers out there. But it’s not always a walk in the park to create successful campaigns. I’ve seen many companies make simple mistakes that cost them big. Here are five of the most common mistakes I correct when I take over a company’s search marketing campaigns.

Not Utilizing Ad Groups

Not grouping keywords correctly is the biggest mistake I see companies make. Instead of segmenting related keywords into separate ad groups, they are all lumped into one ad group. Without grouping your keywords every search results in the same ad being served, despite what words the user is searching for. This mistake leads to lower quality scores, meaning higher CPC’s, lower ad relevance, and lower click through rates.

Imagine that you are searching for a new running shoes, and the ad that you received highlights running shorts, or dress shoes. This messaging doesn’t address what you are looking for, and you will be less likely to click the ad. In this situation, if the company had grouped their keywords correctly the ad would be more relevant to what the user was looking for.

Misusing Broad Match Keywords

The second mistake people make is not using the broad match type correctly. Using broad match casts a very wide net. A company’s ads will show in a search so long as the keywords you entered appear in the search in one form or another. Broad match has its place, however, if not used carefully, it can flood your site with irrelevant traffic and burn through your budget quickly.

For example, if you have “cat food” as a broad match keyword, the ad could show for “italian food”. The keyword “food” matches the search query despite the drastic difference in what was searched for and what was delivered. It would be a rare coincidence that someone who is searching for Italian food would need to buy cat food at that very moment.

Ignoring Negative Keywords

Another detrimental mistake I see frequently is not utilizing negative keywords within an ad group or campaign. AdWords allows you to add negative keywords to exclude specific keywords that are not relevant to your product or service.

For example, if you own a store that sells men’s dress shoes, you would not want your ads to show for “men’s running shoes” you can add “running” as a negative keyword, and your ads will not be shown when “running” is part of the search query.

Sending Your Audience to an Unrelated Page

Next, is not directing ads to the correct page. If ads are highlighting a particular product, the ad should lead to that product, not your homepage. How many times have you clicked a search result and ended up on an entirely irrelevant page? More than likely this was not a great experience and the likelihood that you found the information you need is small.

Google’s end game is to provide real answers to users questions, so make sure your ads are pointing to a page that gives them those answers. Directing to the wrong landing page can lead to lower quality scores, meaning higher CPC’s, lower ad relevance, lower ad position, and a lower click through rate.

Setting an Unrealistic Budget

Lastly, is not using a realistic budget. If the average CPC for the industry is $20/click, and your budget is $30 /day, you will not achieve the ROI you would expect from AdWords. The search engine will have no choice but to do one of two things, only bid on searches that you will rank low for or show the ad until you get the single click that your budget allows for that day.

Both of these options cause significant issues for your search results. If you are bidding on low ranking searches, you will end up on the second or third page of google. Ninety-one percent of searchers don’t make it to the second page of google search results, so having your ad placed on these pages won’t even garner a good amount of impressions let alone clicks.

Relying on a single click to convert is wishful thinking. After you receive that one click, your remaining budget you will not be able to bid high enough to place your ad within any other search results.


Avoiding these mistakes will ensure that the budget that you put towards paid search ads is being spent on the most relevant audiences and gives the searchers the relevant search results. Make sure you are getting the most out of your search engine endeavors.